Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Advent is about Jesus showing up and what happens after. The first time He showed up, He came in your flesh, to be born and be tempted in your place, to do battle with the devil and to suffer and die on the cross for your sins. He rose from the dead to conquer your death. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, they shouted, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of The Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" And after He rode into Jerusalem, Jesus went to Calvary for you and accomplished your salvation. So let's keep track. The first time Jesus shows up, He dies and rises to save you.
This time there is no donkey. Instead He comes in water with the Word, in Absolution; in preaching; on the altar. We sing it too: "Blessed is He who comes in the Name of The Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" We sing it right before Jesus shows up on the altar. The Lord comes to you now in His church to deliver to you what He accomplished back then: the forgiveness of sins. As you live your life with that Old Adam hanging around your neck, chafing against God and trying to ignore your neighbor, the forgiveness of sins covers you. Here in His church, Jesus shows up to do battle with your Old Adam, to crucify him, and then to raise you to new life by His Word and forgiveness. Over and over Jesus shows up now, and He kills and raises you up by His gifts to save you.
The third time is yet to come. We don't know when. It's why we're watching and waiting. It seems like Advent has been "crying wolf" for 2000 years, doesn't it? Jesus is coming! Well…where is He? Sometimes it feels like you have a better chance of getting hit by lightning than you do of seeing Jesus show up on the clouds in all His glory with His holy angels. But the season of Advent, the season of waiting and hearing about Jesus showing up, is preparation for when He will return. That way it doesn't catch us by surprise. And what happens when He arrives? The first time He came to save you. The times since then, He comes to give you that salvation and keep you in that faith. So the third time can't be anything else than to save you once and for all, to raise you from the dead, to give you life everlasting. As always, Jesus comes to save you.
It’s a wonderful thing when Jesus arrives. Advent is the time when the church is reminded that Jesus is coming. There is nothing better than when Jesus comes to you. Advent is a season that looks to Jesus as He comes: His first coming in the celebration of His birth at Christmas, His second, continual coming to us in church; and when He will come again in glory on the Last Day. Take the time in Advent hear more of Jesus' Word. It's a time of anticipating and preparing for His final coming, when we will no longer walk by faith but will see Him face to face and walk in His eternal presence.
Advent is a time of repentance when we look at our lives as ask the question, "What is there keeps me from paying attention and being ready?" The preaching of Advent calls us away from a world that really has nothing to offer us, calling us instead to a Lord who shows up to give us everything and more! We lift our eyes to the Lord and we watch and wait to greet the King with our Hosannas, and we wait for the news of Him as He comes back. We see Him coming now by faith, and we look forward to Him coming again in glory. Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly! In the name of the Father and of the Son (†) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always. Amen.